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    Are You Allergic to Your Medicine?

    You need your medicine to manage your health. They can make a huge difference in your life. But sometimes, people have an allergic reaction to a medicine.

    When you have an allergy, your immune system mistakenly sees something that’s harmless as an invader. Your body responds with certain chemicals, such as large amounts of histamine, to try to get rid of it.

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    If you think you have a drug allergy, tell your doctor. There may be another treatment you could try instead.

    Symptoms

    Even in people who aren't allergic, many drugs can cause issues like an upset stomach. But during an allergic reaction, the release of histamine can cause symptoms like hives, a skin rash, itchy skin or eyes, congestion, and swelling in the mouth and throat.

    A more severe reaction, called anaphylaxis, may include trouble breathing, blueness of the skin, dizziness, fainting, anxiety, confusion, rapid pulse, nausea, diarrhea, and other serious symptoms.

    What Are the Most Common Drug Allergies?

    Penicillin and other similar antibiotics are the drugs most people are allergic to.

    Other meds commonly found to cause allergic reactions include sulfa drugs, barbiturates, anti-seizure drugs, and insulin.

    Diagnosis

    Your doctor will talk to you about your medical history and symptoms. If he thinks you might be allergic to an antibiotic, such as penicillin, he may give you a skin test to confirm it.

    But skin testing doesn’t work for all drugs, and in some cases it could be dangerous. If you've had a severe, life-threatening reaction to a particular drug, your doctor will simply rule out that medicine as a treatment option for you. Getting an allergy test to find out if the severe reaction was a "true" allergic response isn't needed if there are other drug options.

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